On February 10th and 11th, TPAM – Performing Arts Meeting in Yokohama – featured performances of José Maceda’s Cassettes 100 and Music for Five Pianos / Two Pianos and Four Winds. This event builds on an ongoing project by TPAM Direction Director, New York-based curator, and composer Aki Onda. Let us rewind.

José Maceda, courtesy of UP Center for Ethnomusicology 

2017 marked composer and ethnomusicologist Dr. José M. Maceda’s centennial year. This also was the year that Aki Onda embarked on a two-month ACC grant to the Philippines and Japan to trace the influence of ACC alumnus and JDR 3rd Awardee Dr. Maceda (ACC 1974-2000) had on contemporary experimental performance. This timely research on the 1997 National Artist explored both archival and personal narratives. Aki began at the University of the Philippines Center for Ethnomusicology, sifting through the vast collection of Dr. Maceda’s music scores, notes, and field recordings.

Researching at UP Center for Ethnomusicology, courtesy of Aki Onda

He then interviewed composers who had studied and worked with Dr. Maceda, as well as emerging composers in the experimental music and sound art scene. Aki noted that Dr. Maceda is “highly regarded in his home-country, for both his fieldwork on Filipino musicality and his pioneering performance of avant-garde music,” yet at the same time his contributions are “under-recognized and rarely performed outside the Philippines.”

Music for Five Pianos, courtesy of Hideto Maezawa

Fast-forward to TPAM 2019. Aki Onda has brought José Maceda’s work to an international stage, presenting Cassettes 100 and Music for Five Pianos / Two Pianos and Four Winds at the Kanagawa Arts Theatre (KAAT). These performances—like Aki’s interviews—were intergenerational works that involved Dr. Maceda’s colleagues, as well as younger performers and composers. Music for Five Pianos (1993) featured pianists Aki Takahashi (ACC 1989, 2000) and Yuji Takahashi (ACC 1967), and conductor Josefino Chino Toledo (ACC 1985-1998), all of whom were ACC alumni and collaborators with Dr. Maceda.

Cassettes 100, courtesy of Yoshihiro Arai

Cassettes 100 was staged and choreographed by Yoko Higashino and Toshio Kajiwara of the ANTIBODIES Collective—a non-profit organization of artists and professionals whose mission is to explore the socio-cultural significance of performance art. This large-scale multimedia work debuted in 1971 at the Cultural Center of the Philippines, with one hundred participants playing cassette recordings of indigenous Filipino instruments and voices. As a composer, himself, Aki Onda is well-known for “Cassette Memories,” a sound diary of field recordings since 1988, from which he creates compositions, performances, and visual artworks. In his compositions and his curation, he reveals the ongoing influence of the past on our present.
Below: Aki Onda, Aki Takahashi, Yuji Takahashi, and Josefino Chino Toledo